England

All Blacks' Suzi visits London

Thu, 29 Nov 2012 12:13
Steve-hansen-media-630 Kieran-read-nz-trains-630 Hansen-_-mccaw-630 Kieran-read-media-630 Steve-hansen-points3-630
It's been a difficult week because a lot of guys have been sick
Quote-end

Suzi, the name first given to a stomach bug that flattened the 1995 All Black before the World Cup Final, has resurfaced ahead of New Zealand's final year-end Test against England in London.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen expects to be able to retain his first-choice side for Saturday's international against England despite the squad falling victim to the norovirus sweeping Britain.

Only two members of the world champions' playing party have escaped the vomiting and diarrhoea bug, which first struck the tourists before last Saturday's 33-10 win over Wales in Cardiff.

However, the All Blacks believe they have now come through the worst of the illness and Hansen is not anticipating making any late changes to his matchday 23 this weekend.

"It's been a difficult week because a lot of guys have been sick with diarrhoea and vomiting," Hansen said after naming his team on Thursday.

"Getting the mix right in training has been difficult. Hopefully, we have been smart enough to keep the tanks full to play well.

"There are only two players who have escaped the virus. It started in Wales and has just continued.

"Apparently, half the UK have got it. If you hang around the team hotel too long we will give it to you too. It's a present from the colonials," he joked, referring to the Kiwis former colonial masters, Britain.

No.8 Kieran Read, who suffered from the virus Wednesday, added: "Personally I'm feeling a lot better. The boys had a good guided tour of the bathrooms yesterday on their day off.

"It's a 24-hour thing. It's just something you have to handle and we'll be all right for Saturday."

* Suzi is the name of a  bogus waitress that  ostensibly 'poisoned' the All Blacks ahead of the 1995 World Cup Final. Most of the squad suffered some form of food poising in the lead-up to the Final, but it was never proven if it was related to their outing to a local seafood establishment or actually something they ate in the team hotel. The waitress, first mentioned in coach Laurie Mains biography, was never found and never worked at the team's hotel.

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